Michael Bourke: A Brief History of Mudgee

8 April 2022 – 26 June 2022Michael-Bourke-MWRC-Website-Event-Page-Image-banner.jpg  

Michael Bourke is a talented artist and educator whose work investigates local landscapes through the irreverent lens of a true larrikin. His painterly depictions of local identities and landmarks reimagine the region around Mudgee, poking fun at the town’s history through his playful, witty creations.

The works from this exhibition contained carefully crafted compositions that pay homage to the Australian artists he greatly admires, including Russell Drysdale, Sidney Nolan and occasionally the sparse, urban landscapes reminiscent of Jeffrey Smart. The artist is fastidious in the arrangement of shapes and colour to establish his scenes, further complemented by a surrealist and even a gothic sensibility.

Michael’s sharp satire belies his underlying affection for Mudgee and its surrounds. His alternative history is riddled with the golden hues that are somehow reminiscent of growing up in regional NSW in the 1970’s and 80’s.

The artist explains, ‘Art doesn’t have to be heavy and difficult. It can also be humorous and lighthearted’. At a time when the real world is difficult to navigate, this exhibition was a delightful detour into an alternate world of humour and lighthearted playfulness.